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NIA, one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of NIH, leads the federal government in conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The Institute seeks to understand the nature of aging and the aging process, and diseases and conditions associated with growing older, in order to extend the healthy, active years of life.

In 1974, Congress granted authority to form NIA to provide leadership in aging research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs relevant to aging and older people. Subsequent amendments to this legislation designated NIA as the primary Federal agency on Alzheimer’s disease research. Read more about NIA's history


The Institute's mission is to:

  • Support and conduct genetic, biological, clinical, behavioral, social, and economic research on aging.
  • Foster the development of research and clinician scientists in aging.
  • Provide research resources.
  • Disseminate information about aging and advances in research to the public, health care professionals, and the scientific community, among a variety of audiences.

NIA pursues this mission by funding extramural research at universities and medical centers across the United States and around the world; maintaining an active communications and outreach program; and conducting a vibrant intramural research program at NIA laboratories in Baltimore and Bethesda, Maryland.

Strategic Directions

Aging Well in the 21st Century: Strategic Directions for Research on Aging, most recently updated in 2016, is NIA's "road map" for progress in aging research and outlines our goals and vision. It provides a point of reference for setting priorities and a framework for systematically analyzing the Institute's scientific portfolio and assessing progress.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

NIA is committed to advancing the most innovative science, as well as a sound administrative infrastructure to support our research. This could not be accomplished without a workforce representative of all ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds. We have designed and implemented resources and training to promote diversity and inclusion in hiring and retention, and to help our staff learn about, recognize, and thwart unconscious bias. We encourage Institute staff at all stages of their careers to engage with individuals who are different from them to broaden their views and perspectives. Additionally, we encourage open discussion and employee feedback through multiple channels to help to nurture inclusion and demonstrate that everyone’s opinion is valued equally.

NIA is dedicated to:

  • Regular and respectful dialogue with employees of all racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds;
  • Broad, inclusive, and diverse hiring practices to identify individuals who can contribute thoughtfully to the NIA mission; 
  • Consideration of people who have the potential to make productive, long-term contributions to our Institute; and
  • A progressive and flexible workplace environment in which all individuals have the opportunity to flourish.

Transparency plays a critical role in NIA and NIH’s commitment to equity within the workforce. View workforce demographic data at NIA and NIH.

An official website of the National Institutes of Health